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Arubans happily accept U.S. dollars virtually everywhere. That said, there's no real need to exchange money, except for necessary pocket change (for soda machines or pay phones). The official currency is the Aruban florin (Afl), also called the guilder, which is made up of 100 cents. Silver coins come in denominations of 1, 2 1/2, 5, 10, 25, and 50 (the square one) cents. Paper currency comes in denominations of 5, 10, 25, 50, and 100 florins.
Prices quoted throughout this book are in U.S. dollars unless otherwise noted.
Prices throughout this guide are given for adults. Substantially reduced fees are almost always available for children, students, and senior citizens.
ATMs and Banks
If you need fast cash, you'll find ATMs that accept international cards (and dispense cash in both U.S. and local currency) at banks in Oranjestad, at the major malls, and along the roads leading to the hotel strip.
Caribbean Mercantile Bank (Caya G.F. Betico Croes 5, Oranjestad. 297/582–3118.)
RBTT Bank (Caya G.F. Betico Croes 89, Oranjestad. 297/582–1515. www.rbtt.com.)
It's a good idea to inform your credit-card company before you travel, especially if you're going abroad and don't travel internationally very often. Otherwise, the credit-card company might put a hold on your card owing to unusual activity—not a good thing halfway through your trip. Record all your credit-card numbers—as well as the phone numbers to call if your cards are lost or stolen—in a safe place, so you're prepared should something go wrong. Both MasterCard and Visa have general numbers you can call (collect if you're abroad) if your card is lost, but you're better off calling the number of your issuing bank, since MasterCard and Visa usually just transfer you to your bank; your bank's number is usually printed on your card.
If you plan to use your credit card for cash advances, you'll need to apply for a PIN at least two weeks before your trip. Although it's usually cheaper (and safer) to use a credit card abroad for large purchases (so you can cancel payments or be reimbursed if there's a problem), note that some credit-card companies and the banks that issue them add substantial percentages to all foreign transactions, whether they're in a foreign currency or not. Check on these fees before leaving home, so there won't be any surprises when you get the bill.
Reporting Lost Cards
American Express (800/528–4800 in U.S.; 336/393–1111 collect from abroad. www.americanexpress.com.)
MasterCard (800/627–8372 in U.S.; 636/722–7111 collect from abroad. www.mastercard.com.)
Visa (800/847–2911 in U.S.; 410/581–9994 collect from abroad. www.visa.com.)
At this writing exchange rates were Afl1.79 to the U.S. dollar and Afl1.76 to the Canadian dollar. Stores, hotels, and restaurants converted at Afl1.80; supermarkets and gas stations at Afl1.75. The Dutch Antillean florin—used on Bonaire and Curacao—isn't accepted here. Since U.S. dollars are universally accepted, few people exchange money.
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